Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

A COURT SHOULD NOT GRANT TO A PARTY RELIEF NOT ASKED FOR

Dictum

He could not, rightly have raised it himself in his judgment and without hearing the parties proceeded to strike out the case on that ground. It is of material significance that counsel for the defence never asked for such a remedy. I cannot over-emphasize the fact that on no account should a court give to a party a remedy he has not asked for. If it does so, it cannot escape the accusation of playing “father Christmas” to one party visa-vis the other. See: Nigerian Housing Development Society Ltd. v. Mumuni (1977) 2 S.C. 57, at p. 81; Ekpenyong & Ors. v. Nyong & Ors. (1975) 2 S.C. 71, at p. 80.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

CONFLICTING FACTS CAN BE PLEADED WHERE ALTERNATIVE RELIEFS ARE SOUGHT

As rightly submitted by the Petitioners, the reliefs in this Petition, which I have reproduced at the beginning of this judgment, are undoubtedly sought in the alternative. The settled law is that reliefs can be sought in the alternative and where so sought by a party, he is at liberty to plead conflicting facts in line with the alternative reliefs he has sought. In ADIGHIJE V NWAOGU & ORS (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) 419 at 545, paras. E G; (2010) LPELR-4941(CA) at pages 14 – 16, paras. E G, this Court, per Ogunwumiju, JCA (as he then was, now JSC), held that: “…in civil litigation and indeed in election matters, a party can make two seemingly contradictory pleadings leading to two different heads of claim. That is why a petitioner can claim that the election be annulled for reason of substantial non-compliance and in the same breath claim that he won the election by a majority of lawful notes. A petitioner may plead the same set of facts to ground alternative reliefs. Those pleadings are not ipso facto held to be self-contradictory. The Court can only grant one relief as the party must decide which relief is best supported by the evidence on record.” See also: METAL CONSTRUCTION (W.A.) LTD v ABODERIN (1998) LPELR 1868(SC) at pages 26, paras. C E.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

Was this dictum helpful?

APPLICANT CAN ASK FOR ALTERNATIVE RELIEFS BY SEEKING EXTENSION OF TIME TO APPEAL

The first issue is whether this application constitutes an abuse of Court process? I do not think that the present application constitutes an abuse of Court process. It is true that the applicant had earlier in its reply brief contended that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th, 7th and 8th Grounds of Appeal in its amended notice of appeal are grounds of law. However, the applicant in this application is asking for alternative, in case the said grounds of appeal are not grounds of law alone. The applicant is by law permitted to ask for alternative relief by seeking for extension of time to appeal. In Xtoudos Services Nigeria Ltd and Anor v. Tarsei (W.A) Ltd and Anor (2006) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1003) 533 at 555 paras F-G, which was cited and relied upon by learned counsel for the appellant/applicant, this Court had this to say:- “It needs to be stressed that there is nothing wrong for a party in an action to include in his pleading two or more inconsistent sets of material facts and claim reliefs there under in the alternative. It is proper to do so… But once one of them is granted, the other cannot be granted…Thus where there is a claim in the alternative, the trial Court will first consider whether or not the principal or main claim ought to have succeeded. It is only after the Court may have found that it could not for any reason grant the principal claim that it would only consider the alternative claim. This is settled law.” See S.C.E.I v. Odunewo and Anor (1965) 2 ALL NLR 135; Metal Construction (W.A) Ltd. v. Chief Aboderin (1998) 6 SCNJ 161 at 170, (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt. 563) 538; Agidigbi v. Agidigbi and Ors (1996) 6 NWLR (Pt. 454) 303; Merchantile Bank of Nig. Ltd v. Adalma Tanker and Bunkering Services Ltd (1990) 5 NWLR (Pt. 153) 747; Gaji and Ors v. Paye (2003) 5 SCNJ 20 (2003) 8 NWLR (Pt. 823) 583. I am of the firm view that, since this application is merely asking for alternative, it does not constitute an abuse of the Court’s process. I therefore do not think it is necessary to go into the definition of the phrase “abuse of Court process”, since this application is not meant to insult any Court process nor is it meant to annoy the applicant’s opponents. The application is made to regularize an existing process.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Anor. (SC.535/2013(R), 23 June 2017)

Was this dictum helpful?

DECLARATIVE RELIEFS MUST BE PROVED; EVEN ADMISSION CANNOT MAKE IT SUCCEED

It will be recalled that the 1st and 2nd respondents sought declaratory reliefs before the tribunal. The law is that where a party seeks declaratory reliefs, the burden is on him to succeed on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defence (if any). Such reliefs will not be granted, even on admission. See Emenike v. PDP (2012) All FWLR (Pt. 640) 1261, (2012) LPELR – SC 443/2011 at 27- G;Dumez Ltd v. Nwakhoba (2008) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1119) 361 at 373 – 374, (2009) All FWLR (Pt. 461) 842; Ucha v. Elechi (2012) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1317) 230. The 1st and 2nd respondents herein failed to establish the allegation of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the manner enjoined by this court in Ucha v. Elechi , polling unit by polling unit. Voters registers were tendered in respect of only 11 out of 23 Local Government Areas and were not demonstrated before the tribunal.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

Was this dictum helpful?

COURT CANNOT GRANT A RELIEF NOT CLAIMED

A Court has no jurisdiction to grant a relief not claimed or more than the claimant can prove, but can grant less than is claimed. See Ogunyade v Oshunkeye (2007) 7 SCNJ p. 170; Ezeonwu v Onyechi (1996) 2 SCNJ P…; AG. Cross River State v AG of the Federation (2005) ALL NLR p. 44.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Bakari v. Ogundipe (2020) – SC.514/2015

Was this dictum helpful?

THE COURT MAY MAKE CONSEQUENTIAL RELIEF WHETHER SOUGHT OR NOT

It is still trite that ‘no action or other proceedings shall be open to objection on the ground that a merely declaratory judgment or order is sought thereby, and the court may make binding declarations of right whether or not any consequential relief is or could be claimed.’ Order 15 R. 16 (English Rules of the Supreme Court, 1979). See- GUARANTY TRUST CO. OF NEW YORK v. HANNAY (1915) 2 KB. 536.

– A.G. Irikefe JSC. AG Kaduna State v. Hassan (1985) – SC.149/1984

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.